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Your union – taking action.

The IEU constantly works behind the scenes on Industrial and Professional issues. Of late, partly as a result of state and federal governments being more willing to consult, we have been very busy putting the voice of members to politicians and stakeholders.

Early Childhood Education and Care Royal Commission.

We have been part of the Royal Commission roundtable looking into Universal three-year old preschool. It was pleasing to see first-hand that many matters were not contentious. For example, there was a unanimous view that Teachers should be developing and running programs for preschools.

Despite this view, the Commission has recommended an interim measure that programs could be developed by Diploma qualified educators whilst workforce supply is being developed. This will need to be monitored and we believe that very stringent checks and balances would need to be in place.

We are also supportive of a Birth to Five degree but take note of the regulatory challenges — particularly with accreditation from the Teachers Registration Board. It was pleasing that there was a commitment to play-based, culturally-responsive approaches and an emphasis on providing evidence-based tools to improve pedagogical approaches.

The third and final Royal Commission roundtable focusses on workforce. We know that there have been longstanding, systemic issues with attracting and retaining ECEC staff — particularly teachers. In a highly mobile workforce people can, and do vote, with their feet, especially if pay and conditions are below industry standard and support structures are not well developed.

The solution is a complex one, but the government can play a part in pre-school funding and require certain conditions, such as a maximum face to face time are met in order to obtain funding.

The interim report can be viewed here:

Teachers Registration RRHAN roundtable

The IEU was asked to represent you at a consultation roundtable discussing how the Teachers Registration Board (TRB) collects and maintains data about Responding to Risks of Harm, Abuse and Neglect (RRHAN) training – commonly referred to as Mandatory Notification Training.

One key issue is the record keeping requirement in the current TRB regulations that a teacher has undergone RRHAN training and has maintained this training for the period of registration before the TRB will confirm their registration. To verify this, the TRB currently records this information in addition to the teacher’s employers recording the same information (eg. Department for Education record this in Plink – their online learning management system).

The TRB has recommended that recording the same information twice in different locations creates unnecessary extra work, as recording this information with teacher’s employer essentially makes the TRB need for the same data redundant.

The IEU is of the view that removing this requirement would have no undue effect on child safety and would streamline the registration and renewal process as well as potentially freeing up TRB staff to undertake more important tasks.

There would be no change to reporting requirements on teachers, school staff and volunteers. Nor would there be any changes to Working With Children Checks or Police Checks and the Fit and Proper Person test for teachers would remain unchanged.

Attorney General Industrial roundtable

Unions were invited by the Attorney General to meet at Parliament House to discuss a number of initiatives relating to worker rights.

Highlights included: discussion on the draft of the Industrial Manslaughter Legislation; Return to Work Act reform to enhance employer requirement to provide suitable employment to an injured worker; discussion on the Merritt Review into SafeWork SA; South Australian Employment Tribunal reform; as well as topics such as silica dust exposure, wage theft, University merger and ethical procurement policies.

VET Completions roundtable

The number of students completing VET courses remains stubbornly low with less than 50% of people starting a vocational education and training (VET) qualification going to complete it.

The Minister for Education, Training and Skills, the Hon. Blair Boyer convened a stakeholder roundtable with current and past students, apprentices, trainees, trainers, training managers, employers, Industry Skills Councils, and union representatives to discuss ways to address the issue.

Outcomes ideas will inform a national taskforce and be considered by Skills Ministers for the new National Skills Agreement.